Caltanissetta: Downs & Ups

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It was a scene unimaginable in the Caltanissetta of ten years ago, when I was last here. The Corso Umberto was full of kids playing table tennis, table football, chess, fencing, archery, weight lifting and chucking around a rugby ball … Continued

Porto Empedocle: La Rustichella

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Posted from Porto Empedocle, Sicily, Italy. When I got back from Lampedusa, I made a final visit to Porto Empedocle before heading for Caltanissetta. I may have been a bit intemperate about Porto Empedocle in a past blog. I don’t … Continued

Lampedusa: Refuge

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Posted from Lampedusa, Sicily, Italy. Said the banner outside the school library on Lampedusa. I first saw them at night in Porto Empedocle, disembarking from the ferry that runs every day between the port and Lampedusa, a column of black … Continued

Lampedusa: Pit Stops

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Posted from Address not found. Unlikely as it may sound, Lampedusa has something of a gastronomic track record. The Romans rated the garum, that pungent, potent, fishy HP sauce of the Roman world, very highly. Fishing is the other side … Continued

Lampedusa: The Last Frontier

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From a distance Lampedusa as if someone had left a tile of marble floating on the sea. This is the last outpost of Europe before you reach North Africa. Indeed, it’s far closer to Africa than it is to Europe, … Continued

Porto Empedocle: The Miracle of St Calogero

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Posted from Address not found. And then came the miracle of St Calogero. Porto Empedocle was a bit like a night club. By day tatty and depressing, by night it underwent a mysterious transformation, if not into a place of … Continued

Porto Empedocle: Crap Port

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Posted from Address not found. Inevitably on a trip like this there’s a certain amount of sitting around waiting for ferries to arrive and such. That’s no bad thing. It gives time to sit, think, dream and explore; time well … Continued

Pantelleria: Sweetness & Light

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Posted from Sicily, Italy. ‘Not a good year,’ said Michele glumly. ‘Why not?’ ‘Rain in August. Too much rain in August. It dilutes the concentration of the juice and many of the bunches lay on the wet ground, which is … Continued

Pantelleria: Walled Up

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Posted from Sicily, Italy. There’s something unmistakably African, or Arabic, rather, about Pantelleria. There are the names, for a start – Kuddia, Khaggiar, Rekhale, Khamma. There are the houses, dammusi, box-like, with a distinctive dome at the centre, painted white, … Continued


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Posted from Address not found. The Paolo Veronese left bang on time, 11pm. She was an old war horse of a ferry, weathered, a bit stained with rust  here and there, but steady as an old donkey. There was the … Continued

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